Annual BMC budget: With eye on 2017 civic elections, no new taxes likely

However, officials said that the since the civic body will continue to get revenue from Octroi, which is the major source of revenue for BMC, no new taxes are required to be introduced.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published: February 1, 2016 1:38 am

While Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta is set to present the annual budget for the financial year 2016-17 on Wednesday, no new taxes are likely to be introduced keeping in mind civic polls slated early next year.

However, officials said that the since the civic body will continue to get revenue from Octroi, which is the major source of revenue for BMC, no new taxes are required to be introduced.

“We have been hearing of GST for the last two years but nothing has happened so far. Since the GST bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha, we are considering revenue from it from the next budget,” said a senior civic official.

The total budget estimate for 2015-16 is Rs 33,514 crore which is 27 per cent higher than last year’s budget. Civic officials hinted that the budget estimate for the next financial year would be 20 per cent higher. This would be the last budget for the civic body since elections are likely to be held in February next year.
Civic officials said that the roads department is likely to get a hefty budget allocation of around Rs 2,500 crore for repairing roads and laying new roads of mastic asphalt and cement concrete. Apart from it, allocation would be made for the coastal road, which has recently received the Union government’s nod, and Jogeshwari Mankhurd Link Road.

“Corporators have been proposing the repair of many roads. We expect such proposals to increase in the coming months due to the polls,” said the civic official, adding that a considerable amount would also be set aside for the bridges department.

Another civic official said that levying cess for waste collection is under consideration. Allocation would also be made for Swachh Mumbai Abhiyaan, he added. Officials from the assessment and collection said that though they have proposed a lump sum property tax for slums, it is unlikely to be levied from April this year.

“Slums are the vote bank of all political parties. Since elections would be held in February 2017, all political parties will oppose the proposal and it will be stuck till election gets over,” said an official. BMC is expecting Rs 400 crore annually by levying taxes on slums. For the current fiscal, it is expecting Rs 4,900 crore from property tax.

Octroi, property tax and development charges are the major sources of revenue of the civic body which gets over Rs 15,000 crore revenue from it. Officials added that the civic body is expecting a revenue of Rs 6,650 crore for the current financial year as per revised estimates.

Till January 28, the total collection of Octroi was Rs 5,174 crore-six per cent less than last year’s collection of Rs 5,548 crore during the same period. The civic body’s revenue has been hit due to fall in prices of crude oil, said the official, adding that Octroi collection from crude oil is Rs 1,369 crore which is 30 per cent less compared to last year’s collection of Rs 1,973 crore in the same period.

Till January, the civic body collected Rs 4,025 crore revenue from development charges including the fungible FSI, which it expects to reach Rs 4,300 crore.
vishwas.waghmode@expressindia.com

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